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Wild Travel Magazine

Badger watch with the Forestry Commission

13/05/2008 12:32:35

May 2008. The Forestry Commission is offering wildlife watchers to watch badgers in their natural habitat.

Thanks to anti-persecution laws and the work of rangers and conservationists, the badger has made a welcome come-back in North Yorkshire. But actually spotting one can be difficult as they are mostly nocturnal and spend long hours underground in their multi-chambered setts, or dens.

Two badgers emerging from their sett in Cropton Forest at dusk.  Credit Tony Bartholomew.Now rangers have come up with a perfect solution by staging badger watches every Wednesday from 21 May until the 6 August at a secret location near Pickering.

Brian Walker, Wildlife Officer with the Forestry Commission, said: "We get people coming from well over 100 miles away to take part in these events. Seeing badgers and their cubs in their natural habitat is absolutely magical. They are very social animals. Some of the setts can be hundreds of years old, with a huge network of underground tunnels and chambers."

The Forestry Commission work hard to protect badger setts from disturbance and keep a wary eye open for any signs of tampering.  Woods like Cropton and Dalby - two of the biggest forest areas in Yorkshire - offer a perfect environment, well away from the bustle of urban areas and traffic. It's estimated that at least 50,000 badgers are killed on the nation's roads every year.

Location & Cost

The badger watches meet at Stape, north of Pickering, at 7pm and last about three hours.  Full instructions on the rendenzous point will be provided when booking.  The cost is £10 per person.  You will need to bring your own transport.  More information on the Forestry Commission's Yorkshire and Humber woods can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/yorkshireandthehumber

How to book

To book  call 01751 472771.

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